Speaking yesterday at a National Review breakfast, Sen. Rand Paul R-Ky. explained what he thought about the Tea Party movement vs. the Occupy Wall Street movement, as Jon Ward reports in the Huffington Post.
“The Tea Party, I always say, is more like the American Revolution, and Occupy Wall Street is more the French Revolution,” Paul said.
Paul explained that the Tea Party looked back to the rule of law.
“We hearken back to sort of rules,” Paul said, identifying with the Tea Party. “We weren’t unhappy with people just because they were rich; we weren’t happy with you if you were making money off of our taxes and we were bailing you out. If you were making $100 million, your bank goes bankrupt and all of a sudden we bail you out and you’re still making $100 million — that upset us.”
Occupy Wall Street, Paul suggested was more of an emotional protest.
“I think Occupy Wall Street was more of a generic sort of, ‘We just hate people who have any money, and why can’t they give it to us?’ kind of thing,” he said.
I agree, though I would identify the two movements in slightlydifferent terms, orcs vs. hobbits.
The Drudge Report linked to this article on infowars which asks the question whether political tensions in the United States have risen so much that rioting by disappointed followers of either Obama or Romney is likely.
Will the most divisive campaign in modern American history culminate in massive riots in our major cities? Right now, supporters of Barack Obama and supporters of Mitt Romney are both pinning all of their hopes on a victory on November 6th. The race for the presidency is extremely tight, and obviously the side that loses is going to be extremely disappointed when the election results are finalized. But could this actually lead to violence? Could we actually see rioting in communities all over America? Well, the conditions are certainly ripe for it.
A whole host of surveys over the past few years have shown that Americans are very angry and very frustrated right now. In fact, a Pew Research Center poll from late last year found that 86 percent of all Americans are either angry or frustrated with the federal government. We have seen this frustration manifest in protest movements such as the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, but right now things are fairly calm as liberals and conservatives both look forward to November 6th. Many Republicans started the countdown to the next election literally the day after John McCain lost back in 2008.
All of their hopes of getting Obama out of the White House are riding on a Romney victory. For many Democrats, Barack Obama is a “once in a generation” icon. Just the thought of Mitt Romney replacing Obama in the White House is enough to push many of them to the brink of insanity. In recent years we have seen horrible rioting erupt in cities after major sports championship games. How much worse could the rioting potentially be if this bitterly contested election is decided by a very narrow margin – especially if there are allegations that the election is “stolen”?
First of all, this is not the most divisive election in history. However this election turns out, it is not likely that any of the principal candidates will end up in a duel, as in the election of 1800. I am certain that one of the candidates will get a majority in the Electoral College, unlike the election of 1824. I highly doubt any state will secede from the Union, as they did in 1860. So far, neither side has descended to the depths of character assassination of some previous elections, though there is still time.
I notice that the writer of this piece, Michael Snyder, tries to imply that both Republicans and Democrats are equally angry and frustrated and so are equally prone to violence. That isn’t the case, as the article makes clear a little further on.
The election is nearly four weeks away, and many Obama supporters are already threatening to riot if Obama loses. The following are some very disturbing messages that were posted on Twitter recently that have been reposted on Twitchy.com….
“If Romney wins I’m Starting a Riot….Who’s WIT ME???”
“I Hope The USA Is Well Aware That If In The Event This Character Romney Wins The Election, The People Will Start A Country Wide Riot! #Power”
“If Romney is elected president, its gon be a riot its gon be a riot.”
“If ROMNEY GETS IN THE WHITE HOUSE …U MIGHT AS WELL KILL ME NOW …..CAUSE ITS GONNA BE A ************ RIOT !!!”
“If Romney became President and took away welfare Downtown Cincinnati would become a riot”
“If Romney takes away food stamps 2 Chainzz in this bit IMMA START A RIOT”
“If Romney wins. (which i highly doubt) THERE WILL BE A RIOT—”
The following are a few more tweets that I found which threaten a potential riot if Obama loses the election….
“I swear on everything I love if Romney wins ima riot. I don’t even care if its just me.
Some of these people seem to be saying, “continue to support us, or we will riot”. That must be the 47%. The most incoherent tweet is the one saying that the “People” will start a country-wide riot if Romney wins. If Romney wins the election by a majority in both the popular and electoral votes, doesn’t that mean that he is the choice of the majority of the people in the country? Are the People going to riot against themselves.
Meanwhile, the best Snyder can come up with on the other side are vague threats to leave the country.
Romney supporters are not really threatening to riot, but many of them are proclaiming that they may leave the country if Obama wins. Here are some examples….
“im sorry but if obama were to win again, i might as well leave the country and live in zimbabwe”
I think the author of that second tweet is not so much threatening to move to Zimbabwe as making the point that four more years of Obama’s policies could leave the US becoming indistinguishable from Zimbabwe.
There may be despicable acts being committed by despicable people on both sides, but there is far, far more anger, hatred, and bad behavior on the Left. There are angry and hateful Conservatives, but Conservatives seem to have less tolerance for bad behavior in their ranks. Words and acts that are immediately denounced by the Right seem to be celebrated on the Left. If Paul Ryan had acted as boorishly as Joe Biden had in the last debate, most Conservatives would have immediately distanced themselves from him and there would be calls for Romney to pick a new running mate. So far, the majority of Democrats have seemed to praise his behavior.
Rush Limbaugh and other Right-wing talk radio hosts are supposed to be full of hate and anger, but I have never heard it in all the years that I have been listening to Rush and others on and off. As far as I have seen, none of them have fantasied on-air about the deaths of their political opponents. The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street have been compared to each other, but if the Tea Partiers are angry, it is the righteous anger that causes one to try to improve the community. The Tea Party has gotten involved in politics and taken steps to really make a difference. The anger of the Occupy movement is more the nihilistic hatred that only results in smashed windows. The two sides, Left and Right, are simply not equivalent. The Left is based more on anger and envy and appeals to the worst in human nature.
I don’t really think that there will be massive riots after this election. There may be some violence, if Obama loses, but I have a feeling that most of these tweeters may like to think of themselves as being “bad” and they may able to bully children, but experience has shown they are no good against people willing to stand up to them.
It seems hardly different from the old incivility. I doubt that this election cycle will get as nasty as the election of 1800, or of the election of 1824, but it still looks as if even the minimal level of courtesy between the parties has completely broken down. Consider this story I read in The Hill.
Bucking protocol, President Obama and the Democrats are planning a full-scale assault on Republicans next week during their convention.
Presidential candidates have traditionally kept a low profile during their opponent’s nominating celebration, but Democrats are throwing those rules out the window in an attempt to spoil Mitt Romney’s coronation as the GOP nominee.
President Obama, Vice President Biden and leading congressional Democrats have all scheduled high-profile events next week to counter-program the Republican gathering in Tampa, Fla.
Even first lady Michelle Obama is in on the act, scheduling an appearance on the “David Letterman Show” smack in the middle of Romney’s nominating bash.
Political historians say the high stakes of this year’s elections — combined with the rise of today’s 24/7 media culture — have forced leaders on both sides of the aisle to get more aggressive.
“Traditionally, there was a kind of courtesy extended to the party having the convention — the [other] party would basically stay out of the public eye,” said Ross Baker, political scientist at Rutgers University.
But that “gentlemen’s agreement,” Baker said, has been largely abandoned as “a consequence of the polarization of American politics.” He characterized the old tradition as a “quaint code of etiquette” destined to become a “remnant of the 20th century.”
Or, it could be the result of a win-at-all-costs mentality that has pervaded American politics in recent decades. I don’t really know what the Democrats are thinking with this. To start with, I would have thought that they would be doing everything they could to keep Joe Biden out of the public eye. Also, have they not considered that this makes them look a little desperate and uncertain of their chances this November? This is one of those little signs I have been noticing that makes me think that Barack Obama will not be reelected.
Federal authorities are urging law enforcement agencies across the country to watch out for signs that extremists might be planning to wreak havoc at the upcoming political conventions — by blocking roads, shutting down transit systems and even employing what were described as acid-filled eggs.
The warning came in a joint FBI-Department of Homeland Security bulletin issued Wednesday.
The bulletin specifically warned about a group of anarchists from New York City who could be planning to travel to the convention sites to disrupt the events by blockading bridges.
Anarchists “see both parties as the problem,” so both conventions are prime targets for them, a federal law enforcement official told Fox News.
The joint bulletin, titled “Potential For Violent or Criminal Action By Anarchist Extremists During The 2012 National Political Conventions,” says anarchist extremists likely don’t have the capability to overcome heightened security measures set up by the conventions themselves. In addition, Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor said Tuesday that fences have been established around “some of the more attractive government targets.”
Instead, extremists could target nearby infrastructure, including businesses and transit systems, according to Wednesday’s bulletin.
The bulletin mentions possible violent tactics anarchist extremists could employ, including the use of molotov cocktails or acid-filled eggs.
I think that no convention is complete without molotov cocktails. Seriously, what exactly are these people trying to accomplish? They are not going to overthrow the government. No one looking at the news coverage is likely to be impressed with their acts of street violence. All they are going to do is hurt people and end up in jail. Maybe that is the point.
One of the major differences between the Tea Party and the OWS crowd, aside from political ideology and economic principles is that the Tea Party people have been able to move beyond the protest stage with the people in colonial costume and waving those don’t tread on me flags and have, by entering local politics have actually been able to have an effect. The OWS group never did move beyond the campouts and I suppose these protestors are the frustrated die hards.
I feel I have to say it over and over. Barack Obama is not Hitler. He is not Osama bin Laden. You may disagree with his policies and you may think that is he a terrible president, but comparing him to truly evil men is outrageous and more than a little silly.
The Occupiers are planning on coming back this spring after spending the winter in a hole, or under a rock, or something. I read this article in Bloomberg via Drudge.
Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, whose anti-greed message spread worldwide during an eight-week encampment in Lower Manhattan last year, plan marches across the globe tomorrow calling attention to what they say are abuses of power and wealth.
Organizers say they hope the coordinated events will mark a spring resurgence of the movement after a quiet winter. Calls for a general strike with no work, no school, no banking and no shopping have sprung up on websites in Toronto, Barcelona, London, Kuala Lumpur and Sydney, among hundreds of cities in North America, Europe and Asia.
In New York, Occupy Wall Street will join scores of labor organizations observing May 1, traditionally recognized as International Workers’ Day. They plan marches from Union Square to Lower Manhattan and a “pop-up occupation” of Bryant Park on Sixth Avenue, across the street from Bank of America’s Corp.’s 55-story tower.
“We call upon people to refrain from shopping, walk out of class, take the day off of work and other creative forms of resistance disrupting the status quo,” organizers said in an April 26 e-mail.
Occupy groups across the U.S. have protested economic disparity, decrying high foreclosure and unemployment rates that hurt average Americans while bankers and financial executives received bonuses and taxpayer-funded bailouts. In the past six months, similar groups, using social media and other tools, have sprung up in Europe, Asia and Latin America
I really love that “anti-greed” description of their message. I might have described their message as anti property-rights (for other people), anti-intelligence or anti-sanitation. I am sure they will win a lot of support from New Yorkers and others after a whole day spent disrupting traffic and harassing people.
Meanwhile, Zombiereported on the efforts of some misguided fools to occupy a farm.
Are you ready for the most ridiculous and pointless Occupation ever?
Last week, on Earth Day, the Occupy movement illegally took over an entire farm and transformed it into…a farm!
So proud are they of this revolutionary act that they showed off the farm to the media yesterday, so naturally I had to check it out.
There are a lot more pictures. The farm is question is a research farm in which agricultural scientists study ways to increase crop yields while reducing the impact on the environment. By “occupying” this farm, these people may ruin years of research.
The problem that these people are going to run into is that farming is not a lot of fun and games. You have to be willing to work long and hard day after day. If these people were interested in actually working and not just playing at being revolutionaries, they would actually have jobs and be productive members of our society. As it is, I think it would be an interesting experiment to lock them into that farm and make them live off whatever crops they manage to grow.
There are some who contend that the Occupy Wall Street Movement has had a bigger impact that anything that the Tea Party has had. I wouldn’t argue with that. Consider the impact that the occupy people have had on the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston. Here is the story in the Boston Herald.
The Utopian dreamers of Occupy Boston are leaving behind a disgusting field of filth on the formerly scenic Rose Kennedy Greenway, where trees will have to be replanted, grass resodded, sprinklers repaired or replaced and the entire area power-hosed in a massive cleanup that could take weeks.
“We’re close to the end of it, which is very good news. Soon, the park can be repaired and open to the general public,” Nancy Brennan, executive director of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, said late yesterday. “We hope everyone makes a voluntary decision, and this can be a good, dignified end.”
The conservancy has been pushing the city to take action to remove the protesters, sending a letter to Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s office last month expressing frustration at rampant deterioration of the site, plus health and safety issues, including “disturbing” instances of drug use and interference of a farmers market. A judge this week lifted a restraining order on the city, giving it the green light to boot them out.
And none too soon, as far as Brennan is concerned.
“Occupy Boston was really good about listening and moving tents that encroached on plant material, but there were some days where there were tents where they shouldn’t have been,” she said.
Conservancy maintenance and landscape workers have inspected the Dewey Square encampment almost daily since the protesters set up their tents more than two months ago.
Brennan said the grass, which has turned into a mud pit, will need to be completely resodded, and she fears several trees that have been damaged will have to be replanted.
“Three or four trees might be lost. There’s browning of the foliage, and there are some broken and bent limbs,” she said. “Part of what we need to do is check on the root systems, and that is just going to take a little bit of time.”
Brennan also expects that the sprinkler system was damaged so much it will have to be repaired or replaced. Also in need of replacement are about 20 percent of the shrubbery and the pebbles from a pedestrian walkway that runs along Purchase Street.
She also said the wall of the large air intake tower for the O’Neill Tunnel will have to be power-hosed to remove markings and messages left behind by the squatters.
“The grass crete has really taken a beating,” said Brennan, referring to the concrete-type material covering the delivery truck driveway that allows grass to grow through. “We need to see if we can restore or replace it.”
Brennan couldn’t provide an estimate for what the final repair bill will be, but local landscapers pegged it at upward of $50,000.
If you live in Boston and would like to visit the Rose Kennedy Greenway, too bad. You’ll have to wait until the city can clean it up. And, you will get to pay for the cleanup through your taxes. I guess that is the motto for the Occupy Movement, someone else can pay.
As Glenn Reynolds noted: “By contrast, I’ll note once more that the Tea Party protesters left things cleaner when they departed.”
Perhaps because the Tea Party crowd actually knows what work is like and that city workers are not “maids,” but rather expensive clean-up crews. Working has a way of teaching one the value of money, which is why on their 16th birthday, we should hand every teenager in America an apron and a mop and assign them to work at the nearest fast-food joint for $7.50 an hour, 40 hours a week.
Now let us get a few things straight about who these loony goons are. For the most part they are spoiled rotten brats who took out huge loans to pay for four years of self-indulgence at some over-rated liberal arts college. Somehow, they were able to spend a few months in the fall camping out and protesting against the working class while not working themselves.
They are in that upper 1% who do not have to work.
Wall Street brokers do. 12-16 hours a day, 5 days a week. Maybe they do some work at home over the weekend. Much of their pay is based on merit — called bonuses as if the money weren’t earned. It’s a tough business. The risks are many. The rewards great.
I get a paycheck every week. Guess what? How big a bonus some stockbroker gets or doesn’t get has zero impact on my pay stub.
The Democratic Party indulged the Occupy Army this fall. Let’s not reward the party with a re-election next year, no matter how hard we must pinch our noses in the voting booth.
Meanwhile in Los Angeles, these fighters for social justice and income equality left 30 tons of debris for someone else to clean up. I think that it is interesting that these people claim to be fighting for the 99% against the evil, greedy 1% and yet their antics are hurting the working people. Here is a story from last month.
For the 99% — and the 1% too — the dawn-to-dusk demonstrations from Zuccotti Park to Union Square made getting around lower Manhattan a 100% disaster.
Truck driver Bill Crespo found himself motionless for an hour at the corner of Pine and Nassau streets as the demonstrators surged toward the stock exchange Thursday morning.
“I’m praying they don’t ro
“This is the most annoying thing ever in my life,” a frustrated Reignold, said. “I couldn’t get into my building. I couldn’t get through the crowds.”
“If you want wealth equality and income redistribution, you might as well live in a communist country,” she said.
The massive disruptions and civil disobedience didn’t play well with some of the men in suits.
“Out of my way!” barked another businessman swimming upstream against the demonstrators on Nassau St.
Another approached a cop for help.
“I’m all turned around,” he explained. “How can I get to Chase Bank?”
Indeed, the widespread angst among both bulls and bears had little to do with the Dow Jones on this brisk November morning.
Workers exiting the Wall Street subway stop found a maze of NYPD barricades before they were forced to show IDs for access.
“I’m going to lose my job if I can’t get to work,” griped Allen Fenton, 54. “These people are a disgrace.” He asked a cop, “Aren’t you going to do anything?”
The officer responded with a shrug as protesters shouted, “Wall Street is closed!”
Trashing public parks, preventing people from going to work, leaving hazardous messes for sanitation workers to clean up, harassing small businessses, they are the true and authentic voice of the People. I say they are a disgrace.
The NYPD arrested 200 protesters as they moved in on Zuccotti Park early this morning and cleared out the thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters who had taken over the space for nearly two months.
Mayor Bloomberg, who called the decision to boot the protesters “mine and mine alone,” said protesters would be allowed back into the Lower Manhattan park but not with their tents and sleeping bags.
I don’t have any problem with protests. I supported the Tea Party protests. But, there is a problem when people start camping out in parks for weeks on end and annoy the people who live in the area. There is a real problem when the camps become havens for criminal activity and a public health hazard.
I don’t think that Mayor Bloomberg comes off at all well in his dealings with these people. The first duty of any public official is to maintain order and the rule of law. By failing to properly handle the protesters when they started to become unruly, he and too many other sympathetic mayors effectively abdicated their duty, and, they allowed the problem to become that much harder to deal with.
By the way, I think the OWS protesters should be forced to clean up their mess. At the very least, they should pay the costs.
Officials with the revamped ACORN office in New York — operating as New York Communities for Change — have fired staff, shredded reams of documents and told workers to blame disgruntled ex-employees for leaking information in an effort to explain away a FoxNews.com report last week on the group’s involvement in Occupy Wall Street protests, according to sources.
NYCC also is installing surveillance cameras and recording devices at its Brooklyn offices, removing or packing away supplies bearing the name ACORN and handing out photos of Fox News staff with a stern warning not to talk to the media, the sources said.
FoxNews.com’s report identified NYCC as a key organizing force behind the Occupy Wall Street protests. Sources within the group also told FoxNews.com NYCC was hiring people to carry signs and join the protests. NYCC — a nonprofit organization run almost entirely by former ACORN officials and employees –did not reply for comment prior to the publication of the initial article, but later posted a statement on its website dismissing the article and denying that it pays protesters.
A source said that immediately following publication of the FoxNews.com report staff were called into the Brooklyn office for meetings headed by NYCC’s organizing director, Jonathan Westin. Westin handed out copies of the article and went through it line-by-line, the source said.
Staffers were also given copies of photos of Senior Fox News Correspondent Eric Shawn and three other Fox News staff members, including this reporter.
“They reminded us that we can get fired, sued, arrested for talking to the press,” the source said. “Then they went through the article point-by-point and said that the allegation that we pay people to protest isn’t true.”
“‘That’s the story that we’re sticking to,’” Westin said, according to the source.
The source said staffers at the meeting contested Westin’s denial:
“It was pretty funny. Jonathan told staff they don’t pay for protesters, but the people in the meeting who work there objected and said, ‘Wait, you pay us to go to the protests every day?’ Then Jonathan said ‘No, but that’s your job,’ and staffers were like, ‘Yeah, our job is to protest,’ and Westin said, ‘No your job is to fight for economic and social justice. We just send you to protest.’
“Staff said, ‘Yes, you pay us to carry signs.’ Then Jonathan says, ‘That’s your job.’ It went on like that back and forth for a while.”
Of course, I don’t imagine that all, or even most of these protesters are getting paid, judging by the pictures I’ve seen. Or, if they are, it’s not enough to allow for basic hygiene.
Many “Occupy Wall Street” protesters arrested in New York City “occupy” more luxurious homes than their “99 percent” rhetoric might suggest, a Daily Caller investigation has found.
For each of the 984 Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested in New York City between September 18 and October 15, police collected and filed an information sheet recording the arrestee’s name, age, sex, criminal charge, home address and — in most cases — race. The Daily Caller has obtained all of this information from a source in the New York City government.
Among addresses for which information is available, single-family homes listed on those police intake forms have a median value of $305,000 — a far higher number than the $185,400 median value of owner-occupied housing units in the United States.
Some of the homes where “Occupy” arrestees reside, viewed through Google Maps and the Multiple Listing Service real estate database, are the definition of opulence.
Using county assessors and online resources such as Zillow.com, TheDC estimated property values and rents for 87 percent of the homes and 59 percent of the apartments listed in the arrest records.
The median monthly rent for those living in apartments whose information is readily available is $1,850.
Not exactly the wretched of the Earth, are they?
While it would not be fair to conclude that the arrested protesters are fully representative of a movement that is not completely understood, this information forms the most complete snapshot yet of the demonstrations’ more militant participants.
It also reinforces the persistent critique of protesters as entitled, upper-class agitators with few legitimate grievances.
Some time ago, I said that if the Tea Partiers are Hobbits than the liberals who oppose them are Orcs. I can’t think of a better illustration of my thesis than the Occupy Wall Street protests. While the Tea Party Hobbits behaved themselves, cleaned up their messes, and went home when they were done, the OWS people break laws, make messes for others to clean up, and stay on and on and annoy everyone who has to put up with them. And, they fight among themselves, just like Orcs.
As the protest has grown, some of the occupiers have spontaneously taken charge on projects large and small. But many of the people in Zuccotti Park aren’t taking direction well, leading to a tense Thursday of political disagreements, the occasional shouting match, and at least one fistfight.
It began, as it so often does, with a drum circle. The ten-hour groove marathons weren’t sitting well with the neighborhood’s community board, the ironically situated High School of Economics and Finance that sits on the corner of Zuccotti Park, or many of the sleep-deprived protesters.
“[The high school] couldn’t teach,” explained Josh Nelson, a 27-year-old occupier from Nebraska. “And we’ve had issues with the drummers too. They drum incessantly all day, and really loud.” Facilitators spearheaded a General Assembly proposal to limit the drumming to two hours a day. “The drumming is a major issue which has the potential to get us kicked out,” said Lauren Digion, a leader on the sanitation working group.
But the drums were fun. They brought in publicity and money. Many non-facilitators were infuriated by the decision and claimed that it had been forced through the General Assembly.
“They’re imposing a structure on the natural flow of music,” said Seth Harper, an 18-year-old from Georgia. “The GA decided to do it … they suppressed people’s opinions. I wanted to do introduce a different proposal, but a big black organizer chick with an Afro said I couldn’t.”
To Shane Engelerdt, a 19-year-old from Jersey City and self-described former “head drummer,” this amounted to a Jacobinic betrayal. “They are becoming the government we’re trying to protest,” he said. “They didn’t even give the drummers a say … Drumming is the heartbeat of this movement. Look around: This is dead, you need a pulse to keep something alive.”
Never mind if other people cannot function with drums beating 24 hours a day. We have to preserve the flow. In any sort of a movement, you do have to have some structure leadership or nothing will get done. The Tea Partiers understood this, which is why they organized and got into politics. They didn’t just sit around in tri-cornered hats and wave Gadsden flags.
I like this part.
The drummers claim that the finance working group even levied a percussion tax of sorts, taking up to half of the $150-300 a day that the drum circle was receiving in tips. “Now they have over $500,000 from all sorts of places,” said Engelerdt. “We’re like, what’s going on here? They’re like the banks we’re protesting.”
No, that’s like the government these people want.
And it just gets better. You wouldn’t think that keeping your camp clean would be all that controversial. I mean, everybody knows the importance of sanitation, right?
All belongings and money in the park are supposed to be held in common, but property rights reared their capitalistic head when facilitators went to clean up the park, which was looking more like a shantytown than usual after several days of wind and rain. The local community board was due to send in an inspector, so the facilitators and cleaners started moving tarps, bags, and personal belongings into a big pile in order to clean the park.
But some refused to budge. A bearded man began to gather up a tarp and an occupier emerged from beneath, screaming: “You’re going to break my fucking tent, get that shit off!” Near the front of the park, two men in hoodies staged a meta-sit-in, fearful that their belongings would be lost or appropriated.
Other organizers were more blunt. “If you don’t want to be part of this group, then you can just leave,” yelled a facilitator in a button-down shirt, “Every week we clean our house.” Seth Harper, the pro-drummer proletarian, chimed in on the side of the sitters. “We disagree on how we should clean it. A lot of us disagree with the pile.” Zetah, tall and imposing with a fiery red beard, closed debate with a sigh. “We’re all big boys and girls. Let’s do this.” As he told me afterwards, “A lot of people are like spoiled children.” The cure? A cold snap. “Personally, I cannot wait for winter. It will clear out these people who aren’t here for the right reasons. Bring on the snow. The real revolutionaries will stay in -50 degrees.”
Another argument broke out next to the pile of appropriated belongings, growing taller by the minute. A man named Sage Roberts desperately rifled through the pile, looking for a sleeping bag. “They’ve taken my stuff,” he muttered. Lauren Digion, the sanitation group leader, broke in: “This isn’t your stuff. You got all this stuff from comfort [the working group]. It belongs to comfort.”
And as I spoke to Michael Glaser, a 26-year-old Chicagoan helping lead winter preparation efforts, a physical fight broke out between a cleaner and a camper just feet from us.
“When cleanups happen, people get mad,” Glaser said. “This is its own city. Within every city there are people who freeload, who make people’s lives miserable. We just deal with it. We can’t kick them out.”
In response to dissatisfaction with the consensus General Assembly, many facilitators have adopted a new “spokescouncil” model, which allows each working group to act independently without securing the will of the collective. “This streamlines it,” argued Zonkers. “The GA is unwieldy, cumbersome, and redundant.”
From today’s battles, it’s not yet clear who will win the day: the organizers or the organized. But the month-long protest has clearly grown and evolved to a point where a truly leaderless movement will risk eviction — or, worse, insurrection.
As the communal sleeping bag argument between Lauren Digion and Sage Roberts threatened to get out of hand, a facilitator in a red hat walked by, brow furrowed. “Remember? You’re not allowed to do any more interviews,” he said to Digion. She nodded and went back to work. But when Roberts shouted, “Don’t tell me what to do!” Digion couldn’t hold back.
I find it interesting that the same people who were telling us that the TEA partiers were violent extremists are warmly embracing people who are real violent extremists. Not to mention the civility police who insisted that targets on Sarah Palin’s website could cause violence who somehow don’t have a problem with people who call for the murder of millionaires and billionaires.